What's the difference between NY and LA Salsa?

Hey guys! As a new, fledgling Salsera, I was just wondering:

What's the difference between NY and LA Salsa? Are there any other styles of this great dance? What's the most commonly danced style?

I'm on a quest to learn all that I can about this dance so that I can dance it well (not to mention that I'd rather not be caught on the dance floor some night trying to do a *completely* different style of Salsa than someone else!)! Thanks guys!

Sakura Kitty :kitty:
My experience/exposure to NY style is very limited, so please forgive the ignorance :oops: .

Basically, apart from the timing (on1 vs. on2) difference, and a few characteristic 'signature type' styling made famous by various instructors,

.........is there any other REAL obvious differences........?

Both are danced in slot formation, both fast & flashy, both have shines...

:?: :?: :?:
The biggest difference is that LA is danced on1 NY is danced on2. A couple dancing NY style try to dance in straght line (danced on slots) while LA is all over the place, LA is flashier (aerials, dips, neckdrops), and I think there are more shines in NY style. Personally now that I recognize the 2 I find that NY is a smoother type and it's my preferred style while LA is very entertaining to watch but sometimes I fear for my life when I'm dancing it :lol:
DiAnAoN1 said:
LA is flashier (aerials, dips, neckdrops),
sometimes I fear for my life when I'm dancing it :lol:
:D I have a question for LA style dancers about this. If a guy does not even give you one dip (or trick) while dancing, do you feel bored? What about your observation on the majority of LA style dancers on this regard? Do you think most of the female LA style dancers would feel bored if a guy didn't give you any dip, trick etc. while dancing?

I have had only 3 or 4 occasions to dance with LA style female dancers, and in every occasion I suffered being back-led into dips by them (meaning they led themselves into dips, and I was like :shock: ..wait! I don't know how to do this!!!!) ... I got an impression that they wanted me to do those stuff....

I don't have anything against dips, neckdrops, tricks, etc., but since I am basically a very lazy dancer (I don't even spin myself :oops: ), I don't do any of these (have never thought about learning them, either). But I would love to dance with LA people if I ever get a chance again in the future. But I am a bit worried... because of my past experiences.

I think a similar question was asked before in another thread regarding spins and NY style dancers, and I remember Boriken answered that there ARE dancers who can enjoy dancing without giving or being given multiple spins. The same applies to tricks and LA style dancers? :?:


Active Member
Sakura said:
What's the difference between NY and LA Salsa?
salsachinita said:
Basically, apart from the timing (on1 vs. on2) difference, and a few characteristic 'signature type' styling made famous by various instructors,

.........is there any other REAL obvious differences........?
Funny this topic has come up, because I was going to ask the same question!

I danced in Glasgow (the Cuban style capital of Scotland) last weekend, and I was intrigued by dancers there talking about Cuban style (their style) as opposed to NY style, rather than LA style. For example, they ask: "do you dance Cuban or New York?", not "Cuban or LA?" This is despite the fact that there is no on2 teaching in Glasgow. In Edinburgh, where there are more slot-style dancers, they think of their style as LA, not NY. As far as I can make out, London on1 slot dancers also seem to consider their style LA rather than NY (except those who believe there is a distinctive "London style", which are not that many) -- correct me if I'm wrong.

So, like Salsachinita, I'm now wondering:
  • Is there actually a "NY on1 style"?
  • If there is, what is the difference between NY on1 and LA on1?
  • Is there an "LA on2 style", and is it different from NY on2?

Club Salsa's style definitions (see http://web.archive.org/web/20080418...alsa.com.au/whatissalsa/danceinfo/index.shtml ) basically say:
  • LA style - timing more relaxed than NY, sexy and flamboyant, with lots of dips, spins and drops.
  • NY style - shows off the woman, turn patterns simpler than LA, spins, shines, on2 timing.
Last edited by a moderator:
peachexploration said:
What about the links given earlier in the thread? Did they help at all? :)
yes they did actually....I learnt alot!! I realise now that even though we were taught on1 here (NY salsa), we tend to incorporate the on1 steps with the LA salsa style of dancing (as in fast and flashy) but then we also have a unique Jamaican flavor to ou dance as well. hmmmmmmmm.....this has been very informative.
MacMoto said:
I'm still confused... :?
Easiest way to look at it is... NY Style is danced on2, meaning we break on2, and LA Style is danced on1, meaning they break on1. Besides that there is a "difference" in stepping pattern, not in L,R,L,R, but the musical beats that are stepped on.

LA is characterized by tricks/flips/dips.

NY style is characterized by shines and too many spins.

Besides that, same thing.


New Member
More characteristics of LA Style:

Catering to the crowd. Trying to get people to watch the two of you.

Lots and lots of spins. I will admit that I prefer a dance will a lot of spinning to one where I'm dancing a lot of cumbia.

Often, smoothness and connection is secondary to flash and sex appeal.

But it is up to the individuals as to what they want to focus on. So just because it may be typical, it will vary from dancer to dancer.
Sagitta said:
And all I want is connection. :)
=^__^= That's a good sentiment!

:shock: :shock: WOW! Thanks so much guys! I can't wait to go get to those links!

Hmm, so from reading this, I *think* that I'm doing LA style Salsa.

(To be *quite* sure though, and I'm very sure that I already know the answer to this, but double-checking never hurt anyone, the "breaking on 1" (or on 2), just means the count you start on, right? So, in LA, one starts on count 1, and in NY, one starts on count 2, correct? Just making sure! :D )

And look, my topic has made it to page 2! *laughs* Of course, that's a dead cue to have my topic wither away and die now... =o_O=... Hmm.

Anyway, wow again, and thanks so much! To the links!

Sakura Kitty :kitty:


Well-Known Member
Nope. I often dance on3, but start dancing on beat 1. Then there are two types of on2 dancing: one is power on2 where you start on beat 2, and ET on2, where you start on beat 1. on1, on2, on3, I believe refers to when you "brake" to change direction.

Dance Ads